The winners are in!
For the past decade, the Independent Handbag Designer Awards (IHDA) has been a springboard to success for many aspiring handbag designers. Creator Emily Blumenthal and her colleagues and team of judges have used this annual competition–an “industry staple”–to find new talent and hopefully spot a few future “It” bags along the way, too.
Now on its tenth year, the annual event recently culminated its 2016 edition in an awarding ceremony held at the SVA Theater in New York City. It was as glam as it can get, a mix of magazine editors, brand executives and industry stalwarts under one roof. But more than being a celebration of fashion, it was a touching night where newbie designers got to share their stories with their family and friends.
We rounded up this year’s winners and what they have to say about making bags and more. These are sure to be showing up on retailers’ shelves soon!
THE EVINE LIVE BEST HANDBAG IN OVERALL STYLE AND DESIGN
Heirloom’s design duo Tiffany Wu and Lynn Lu represent this award’s characteristic of best in execution and design. The U.S. based label will receive a booth in Accessorie Circuit, mentorship opportunities with fashion and finance firm Hilldun, selling platforms on EVINE Live and a brand consultancy with The Accessory Think Tank.
THE INSTYLE.COM AUDIENCE FAN FAVORITE
This circular shoulder bag in a sweet, cotton candy-ish pink hue looks perfect for the pastel colors trend—and InStyle and its online patrons seem to agree, too. Made by Yanique Moore of U.S. brand Ollie Quinn, this bag will be featured in InStyle’s September issue.
THE LUG LIFE BEST STUDENT MADE HANDBAG
Carolina Kuhnen Ecco is the brains behind Carolina Ecco. A student of Nottingham Trent University in Brazil, Ecco now has the opportunity to work on a limited edition collection for Lug, among other duties for the brand.
THE BERNINA BEST HANDMADE HANDBAG
Angela Olson of Angela Valentine Handbags in the USA will be sewing machine brand Bernina‘s ambassador for its social channels and We All Sew blog.
THE BASIC ADHESIVES BEST GREEN HANDBAG
As this category’s winner, Hanna Varner of HR Deneau will be a brand ambassador for Basic Adhesives. Part of her prize includes a supply of eco-friendly glue and edge paint good for 1,000 bags.
THE FASHION 4 DEVELOPMENT MOST SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE HANDBAG
THE MARY KAY WEAR WITH CONFIDENCE BAG
Zhe Liu of ZHE bags in China bagged this award, where she designed a handbag inspired by geometric eyeshadows. Liu will be working on a collaboration with Mary Kay.
THE TRINA TURK BEST RESORT BAG
Cathleen Nicol’s simple yet chic leather purse in summery orange bagged (pun intended) the Trina Turk award for its resort-inspired aesthetic. Nicol of C. Nicol bags in the UK now has an opportunity to work with Trina Turk’s handbag design team.
ALL ABOUT THE LOGO BY GUESS HANDBAGS
Adrian Furstenburg used mock leather for his fun and sporty bag design for Guess. As the winner, he will work with the brand’s handbag design team. He and his eponymous label hail from South Africa.
THE PANTONE WILD COLOR CARD
Stacy Chan’s two-colored structured clutch earned her the distinction for this award, which will have Chan collaborating with Pantone anytime soon. Her eponymous brand is based in the UK.
THE 2016 CARLOS FALCHI ICONOCLAST AWARD
Accessories brand MZ Wallace got a special award during this year’s ceremony. Founded in 1999 by New Yorkers Monica Zwirner and Lucy Wallace Eustice, MZ Wallace has since aimed to provide women with functional bags and is best known for using Bedford nylon (a sturdy and coated version that is lightweight and resistant to water and stains) on many of its products. Since its inception, the brand has worked on many collaborations—both charitable and artistic—with the likes of Food52 and the artist Raymond Pettibon. It has also recently ventured into athleisure with its MZW Fitness line.
—Eugene Y. Santos